Elana Meyers Taylor returns to international bobsled competition this weekend for the first time since winning her fourth and fifth Olympic medals in February 2022.
And for the first time since having her second son, Noah, in November 2022.
“My goal this season is to really see if it’s possible,” to travel the World Cup with two kids, she said, “and continue to push what’s possible.”
In her most recent international races, Meyers Taylor broke the female record for career Olympic bobsled medals with monobob silver and two-woman bronze in Beijing.
That came after she tested positive for COVID-19 two days after arriving in China, forcing her to miss the Opening Ceremony, though she was still voted a U.S. flagbearer in her fourth Games.
Meyers Taylor told several people after those Olympics that she was ready to end her bobsled career. As time went on, she felt a desire to keep going. Specifically, to race a World Cup in the U.S., which she last did in February 2019.
She took the 2019-20 season off for her first pregnancy. The World Cup stayed in Europe in 2020-21 and 21-22 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then she sat out last season for her second pregnancy. This season finishes with a World Cup in Lake Placid, New York, in late March.
Meyers Taylor laughed in a phone interview from France as she compared this return from childbirth to three years ago.
“It magnifies the chaos,” traveling with twice as many kids, she said as Nico and Noah could be heard in the background. “It feels like a big experiment, but I love the sport of bobsled and want to compete if I can.”
Meyers Taylor, 39, said it has been tougher return than in 2020. A more complicated birth. A longer recovery after a uterine rupture. She is still working back to full fitness. And a difficult summer that included three surgeries between the two kids, multiple ER visits and many more doctors’ appointments and therapies.
In March, she traveled to Lake Placid, home of one of the two bobsled tracks in the country, to see if her athletic passion was still there.
“And it very much is!” she posted on social media at the time. “I’m not sure how we’re going to make it happen (anyone know of a caretaker who wants to travel the world looking after two adorable boys??) but there’s more left in me!”
Husband Nic Taylor, a former U.S. bobsledder, joined the Sacramento Kings as an assistant strength and conditioning coach (and hype man) before the 2022-23 NBA season. So unlike in 2020, he will not be in Europe with the family. They did find a caretaker.
“Now it’s about adjusting each week and seeing what we can do and dealing with whether Nico is teething or whether Noah is missing his father or not sleeping well, those different kinds of things,” she said.
Her focus is on the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, in late January and early February. Meyers Taylor last made a world podium in 2017. What’s more, St. Moritz is a candidate to host the 2026 Milano-Cortina Olympic sliding events after plans were scrapped to rebuild the Cortina venue.
She is one shy of the U.S. Winter Olympic female record of six medals held by speed skater Bonnie Blair.
“I want to go to 2026,” said Meyers Taylor, who won a medal in all five of her career Olympic starts, all silver or bronze. “I want to do everything I can to contend for two gold medals.”